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A Blessing of Unicorns: The Paris and Cloisters Tapestries: The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, v. 78, no. 1 (Summer 2020)
THE METROPOLITAN MUSEUM OF ART BULLETIN | VOLUME 78 | NUMBER 1

A Blessing of Unicorns: The Paris and Cloisters Tapestries

Boehm, Barbara Drake
2020
48 pages
41 illustrations
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This Bulletin examines the fascinating stories behind the only known sets of unicorn tapestries in the world—one at The Met Cloisters and another at the Musée de Cluny, Paris. The thirteen tapestries that compose the two sets—six at the Cluny and seven at The Met—remain shrouded in mystery, with their origins and original owners still unknown. Considering the iconography of these two collections together and drawing from primary sources, this Bulletin aims to reach a better understanding of these masterworks and their mythical subject that has captured the public imagination for centuries.

Met Art in Publication

The Unicorn Rests in a Garden (from the Unicorn Tapestries), Wool warp with wool, silk, silver, and gilt wefts, French (cartoon)/South Netherlandish (woven)
French (cartoon)/South Netherlandish (woven)
1495–1505
The Hunters Enter the Woods (from the Unicorn Tapestries), Wool warp, wool, silk, silver, and gilt wefts, French (cartoon)/South Netherlandish (woven)
French (cartoon)/South Netherlandish (woven)
1495–1505
Trumpeters leading Ceasar on horseback, from "The Triumph of Caesar", Jacob of Strasbourg, Woodcut
1504
The Unicorn Purifies Water (from the Unicorn Tapestries), Wool warp with wool, silk, silver, and gilt wefts, French (cartoon)/South Netherlandish (woven)
French (cartoon)/South Netherlandish (woven)
1495–1505
The Unicorn Crosses a Stream (from the Unicorn Tapestries), Wool warp with wool, silk, silver, and gilt wefts, French (cartoon)/South Netherlandish (woven)
French (cartoon)/South Netherlandish (woven)
1495–1505
Peregrinatio in terram sanctam., Bernhard von Breydenbach  German, Woodcuts
Multiple artists/makers
1486
The Unicorn Defends Himself (from the Unicorn Tapestries), Wool warp with wool, silk, silver, and gilt wefts, French (cartoon)/South Netherlandish (woven)
French (cartoon)/South Netherlandish (woven)
1495–1505
Horae, B.M.V.  use of Rome, Thielman Kerver , Paris French, Printed on paper
August 6, 1504
The Unicorn Surrenders to a Maiden (from the Unicorn Tapestries), Wool warp with wool, silk, silver, and gilt wefts, French (cartoon)/South Netherlandish (woven)
French (cartoon)/South Netherlandish (woven)
1495–1505
The Unicorn Surrenders to a Maiden (from the Unicorn Tapestries), Wool warp with wool, silk, silver, and gilt wefts, South Netherlandish
South Netherlandish
1495–1505
The Hunters Return to the Castle (from the Unicorn Tapestries), Wool warp with wool, silk, silver, and gilt wefts, French (cartoon)/South Netherlandish (woven)
French (cartoon)/South Netherlandish (woven)
1495–1505
Unicorn of James IV of Scotland (r. 1488–1513), Gold, British
British
1488–1513
Box with Romance Scenes, Elephant ivory, French
French
ca. 1310–30
Old Age Drives the Stag out of a Lake and the Hounds Heat, Grief, Cold, Anxiety, Age, and Heaviness Pursue Him: (from The Hunt of the Frail Stag), Wool warp, wool and silk wefts, embroidered with wool, South Netherlandish
South Netherlandish
ca. 1500–1525
Le Premier Volume de la bible en francoiz historiee et nouvellement imprimee, Antoine Vérard  French, Woodcuts
ca. 1501

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